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AT&P vs Ogodo: A’Court adjourns hearing

By Simon Ebegbulem
BENIN—THE Appeal Court sitting in Benin, has adjourned till 5 October 2010, hearing in the appeal by the African Timber and Plywood, AT&P, Sapele,  a subsidiary of UAC, against a judgment in favour of the Ogodo Family of Sapele,  in a land case with AT&P.

It will be recalled that a Delta High Court sitting in Sapele, had in July 1984, ruled in favour of the Ogodo family of Sapele, in a  land dispute with AT&P, which the plaintiff argued they had the title to, tracing their ancestor named,  Ogodo Okubor, who was described as one of the founding fathers of Sapele, otherwise known as Urhiapele.

Ogodo family is one of the four land owning families in Sapele and they settled on the said land before the advent of the Europeans  in Sapele.

The plaintiff had claimed that the “entire land in dispute shown on the plaintiff’s survey plan is not crown or state or government land.” The High Court agreed with them in its judgment.

The Ogodo family wants the appellate court, to “set aside the service of the hearing notice dated 21 January 2004, and all processes attached served on John Alele and Co, at number 19 Warri Sapele Road, Warri on 27 April  2004, for the hearing of the motion on notice for extension of time for leave to appeal.

They are also praying the appellate court to strike out the notice and grounds of appeal filed in the court below by the defendant/appellant on June 2, 2004 and all other processes in the appeal.

Former Counsel to AT&P, MrO.Longe, had, however, filed a counter affidavit to the motion, while the respondent filed a further affidavit in support of the motion.

Consequently, the appellate court ordered counsel to both parties to file written addresses on  March 19, 2010. Counsel to Ogodo family filed his  written addresses within 14 days, specifically on  March 19, 2010 while Longe filed his own on April 6, 2010 before he was debriefed and Mr Augustin Omonuwa, SAN,  took over as counsel to AT&P.

After he took over the case, Omonuwa filed a motion to amend the appellant’s written addresses. However, when the matter came up yesterday, counsel to Ogbodo family, Odoh did not oppose his application, but said he needed 14 days to file a reply on point of law.


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